With the unemployment numbers in the millions and small businesses closing, people are looking for new career opportunities. The last few months have left American workers wondering: is this the time to search for or create a new career path?
According to Consumer Action, knowing which industries are hiring, and where they are hiring, will help guide your career and education choices. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics offers their list of the top 20 fastest growing occupations. Topping that list: Wind turbine service technicians, nurse practitioners, solar photovoltaic installers, occupational therapy assistants and statisticians. Other fields with growing opportunities are in home health care field, offices of health practitioners and community care facilities.
Once you decide on a career path that interests you, it’s time to evaluate your skills. Often you have skills that can be applied to a new job with a refresher course. You may need to learn a new set of skills, which can be done virtually.
Some positions require a certification which you may be able to find at a low cost through a community college. If you have been out of school for a while, do not be intimidated by the prospect of continuing your education, at any age. You can search for community colleges offering associate degrees, certificates and diplomas in your area at Career One Stop.
Career One Stop is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor. Through this site you can explore various careers as well as training opportunities. The resources are broken into several areas such as self-employment, older worker, entry-level, workers with disabilities and more.
For veterans and people in the Reserve or the Guard, you can find both apprenticeships and on the job training programs through the GI Bill. There are ways to apply for financial aid and other programs to help cover educational costs. Check out Military.com for information on eligibility and a usage guide to help service members and veterans get the most out of this financial assistance benefit. Helmets to Hardhats helps connect National Guard, Reserve and retired or transitioning active-duty military service members with proper training for the construction industry. Additional job training courses and job opportunities for military and veterans can be found at USA.gov.
If you aren’t ready to make a career change, volunteer opportunities are a good way to network with people and organizations that share your common interests. Sites like Volunteer Match offer opportunities to put your skills to work and sharpen the skills you already have.
For more details and a wealth of resources, check out A Consumer Action Guide to making a job or career transition.
Jeanette Pavini is an Emmy Award winning journalist specializing in consumer news and protection. She is a regular contributor to The Street’s Retirement Daily. Her work includes reporting for CBS, MarketWatch, WSJ Sunday and USA Today. Jeanette has contributed to The Today Show and a variety of other media outlets. You can follow her moneysaving tips on Facebook: Jeanette Pavini: Better Ways to Save Community or go to JeanettePavini.com.